How to File a Claim Against HomeAway

Make your voice heard and make HomeAway pay: These are your options!

As a property rental company that operates a platform similar to the one used by AirBnB, HomeAway has more than two million vacation rental properties in its inventory. The company runs more than 50 websites in 23 languages that attract customers from nearly 190 countries. Another similarity shared with AirBnB is that HomeAway has to address complaints filed by customers that concern the quality of lodging.

Since 2010, a rapid increase in sales has coincided with a rapid increase in customer claims. Let’s review a few of the reasons why HomeAway customers file claims:

  • Breach of contract
  • Failure to provide promised amenities
  • Dirty properties
  • Host on property too often
  • Lack of security
  • Amenities that do not work as promised

If you had a bad experience dealing with HomeAway, is there a way to gain closure that appeals to you?

Does HomeAway require customers to follow specific dispute resolution guidelines?

If you are eligible to file a claim, how do you initiate the process?

HomeAway Dispute Resolution Process

Since HomeAway does not provide direct hospitality services, you would think the company does not have to deal with as many customer complaints as the number of customer complaints handled by a hotel chain such as Marriott. However, HomeAway must deal with many of the same issues that face a lodging chain, which means the company has developed a clearly defined procedure for customers to address service issues.

To avoid becoming embroiled in a prolonged class action lawsuit, HomeAway requires customers to participate in the company’s binding arbitration process. Just remember that binding arbitration is only one way to file a claim against the company.

Here is how the binding arbitration provision reads within the HomeAway terms of service agreement:

“Any and all Claims will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court, except you may assert Claims on an individual basis in small claims court if they qualify. This includes any Claims you assert against us, our subsidiaries, users or any companies offering products or services through us (which are beneficiaries of this arbitration agreement). This also includes any Claims that arose before you accepted these Terms, regardless of whether prior versions of the Terms required arbitration.
There is no judge or jury in arbitration, and court review of an arbitration award is limited. However, an arbitrator can award on an individual basis the same damages and relief as a court (including statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs), and must follow and enforce these Terms as a court would.
Arbitrations will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its rules, including the AAA Arbitration Consumer Rules (together, the “AAA Rules”). Payment of all filing, administration and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA’s rules, except as provided in this section. If your total Claims seek less than $10,000, we will reimburse you for filing fees you pay to the AAA and will pay arbitrator’s fees. You may choose to have an arbitration conducted by telephone, based on written submissions, or in person in the state where you live or at another mutually agreed upon location.
By agreeing to arbitration under the AAA Rules, the parties agree, among other things, that the arbitrator, and not any federal, state, or local court or agency, shall have the exclusive power to rule on any objections with respect to the existence, scope, or validity of the arbitration agreement or to the arbitrability of any claim or counter claim.”

Filing a Claim against HomeAway in Small Claims Court

If you have a claim against HomeAway that involves recovering a small amount of money, then filing a claim against HomeAway in small claims court might be the best legal action. Let’s say the lack of an effective security system led to a break in that cost you a suitcase full of clothes. If the total amount of the financial loss does not exceed $10,000, then you have the option to file a claim in small claims court. You have to decide whether the time commitment required to complete a small claims court case is worth going to court to settle a dispute with HomeAway.

Issue a Formal Complaint against HomeAway with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Contacting the CFPB will not allow you to receive just compensation to settle a dispute you have with HomeAway. What the CFPB can do for you is levy a fine against HomeAway, as well as require the lodging referral company to alter its business practices. The CFPB also has the legal power to close businesses that commit flagrant violations of federal consumer protection laws.

Contact the Better Business Bureau

As the most influential advocate for consumers, the BBB runs a comprehensive website that allows consumers to file complaints. The BBB also issues a rating to each company that participates in its consumer education program. Since April 2017, the BBB has closed more than 200 complaints against Homeaway filed by consumers. However, the BBB has given HomeAway the highest possible rating of A.

Participate in Binding Arbitration

Out of all these those, binding arbitration might be your most successful chance at getting compensation for your claim against HomeAway.

The most important reason why binding arbitration is the preferred method for resolving disputes is that the process inevitably reaches a clearly defined conclusion. Neither party can appeal the decision handed down by the neutral arbitrator overseeing a binding arbitration hearing. Both parties must agree to the arbitrator chosen to hear a case, which means both sides should be satisfied that the process will unfold impartially.

Each side presents the most convincing case in front of the judge. You should explain your side of the story, as well as present physical evidence that includes sales receipts and photographs that depict a poorly maintained rental property. The terms of service agreement should include information concerning which of the parties is responsible for paying binding arbitration fees. FairShake works with clients by using the guidelines established by the American Arbitration Association. 

Binding arbitration can run for several months, but most of the cases handled by FairShake take less time to complete.

Contact one of our representatives to learn more about the binding arbitration process.

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